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April 2, 2014

News Briefs April 2, 2014

Pentagon: No U.S. deaths in Afghanistan in March

The Pentagon says there were no U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan in March – the first zero-fatality month there since January 2007.

American casualties in Afghanistan have declined as the number of U.S. forces has grown smaller and their role has shifted away from combat. U.S. troops are focused on training and advising Afghan forces.

The Pentagon says there are about 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, down from a 2011 peak of about 100,000.

The international combat mission is scheduled to end in December; whether a new mission to train Afghans is undertaken in January has yet to be decided.

Pentagon statistics show there were 132 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan in 2013, compared with 313 the year before and 415 in 2011. AP

NATO orders end to cooperation with Russia

NATO’s foreign ministers have ordered an end to civilian and military cooperation with Russia and told their generals and admirals to quickly devise ways to better protect alliance members that feel threatened by Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin.

The 28-member alliance, the keystone of U.S. and European security, was reacting to its most serious crisis in years: Russia’s unilateral annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the other ministers, meeting at NATO headquarters behind closed doors, unanimously agreed April 4 on a number of measures, including possible redeployment of military assets in eastern NATO nations like Poland and the Baltic states. AP

U.S. may move warship into Black Sea

The U.S. is likely to move a warship into the Black Sea and send a small team of soldiers to Europe as part of NATO’s effort to bolster allies in Eastern Europe who are worried about Russia’s military annexation of Crimea. That from a senior defense official.

The official says military commanders are considering ways to bolster America’s military presence in the region. But the official said the U.S. is encouraging allies to contribute more aircraft to the Baltic air patrol mission and beef up military support to Poland – steps the United States has taken.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says this country has ìto be prepared to deal with any contingency and all options.

NATO foreign ministers April 2 ordered an end to civilian and military cooperation with Russia. AP

A glance at military spending around the world

Russian military forces are far better equipped than their counterparts in Ukraine, whose government can barely afford to pay their soldiers’ salaries.

Here is a look at the amount the two former Soviet nations spend each year on each member of their armed forces, compared with even bigger-spending militaries in the East and West, according to security affairs consultancy IHS Aerospace & Defense.

The totals are in U.S. dollars per year, per member of the armed forces.

  • United States $381,306
  • United Kingdom $330,810
  • France $231,934
  • Russia $83,478
  • China $77,712
  • India $35,732
  • Ukraine $11,937 AP



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